Kentish Town Forum was packed from front to back come 9.15pm, when Run the Jewels took to the stage. Killer Mike (from Atlanta) and El-P (from New York City) are both accomplished in their respective fields of rapping and producing, and have already made names for themselves over various records. But something new and exciting was created when the pair teamed up to create Run the Jewels back in 2013. Their debut album was well received, but when their second album, released last year, hit the internet, critics went mad.
Indeed, throughout the night, tracks from Run the Jewels 2 were generally the better received. Opening with a crowd chant of ‘R-T-J’ before going straight into the self titled ‘Run the Jewels’, the crowd really get going in following tracks ‘Oh My Darling Don’t Cry’ and ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’ both from the duo’s latest album, with the audience launching into a frenzy from the first beat. With only a DJ for accompaniment, Killer Mike and El-P have free range of the stage to roam and release their energy. Spitting lines and bouncing off each other like a comedy double act, the energy between the two is incredible, even Mike with his arm in a sling can’t be stopped from rhyming and dancing his way through the set.
But amongst all the frivolity, Run the Jewel’s political stances aren’t forgotten. The duo will frequently speak about weed, politicians, the rights of the people and their clashes with the cops, all being received very well by the crowd. Then El-P reminds the crowd that they are all part of the ‘Run the Jewels family’ before launching into ’36’’ Chain’ and ‘DDFH’, two of the most well received tracks from their debut album. While the energy is high throughout the entire set, there is a slight muffled nature to some of the vocals. It’s shame as the rhymes Killer Mike and El-P are spitting are some of the best from recent months, and slightly dulls some of the effect of the sharp lyrics.
Perhaps the most revered song in the set is ‘Close Your Eyes (And Count to F**k)’, their most recent single, with almost everyone in the Forum on their feet and getting down with the music. It’s a spectacle and perhaps one of the most exciting and exhilarating parts of the set. What’s fantastic as well is that Killer Mike and El-P are both clearly loving every second; they thank the audience at every opportunity and clearly mean it. ‘This is us trying to act cool and pretend that we do this all the time’ El-P humbly admits to the audience. The chanting continues as the crowd launch into a chant of ‘LIE – CHEAT- STEAL’ following one of El-P’s political talks and leading into the song of the same name.
Following this comes ‘Early’ and the introductions of artist/producer Boots to the stage. They launch into the powerful and thought provoking ‘Early’, with Boots shredding his distorted guitar and sending ghostly vocals across the Forum. It continues into ‘All My Life’, with Boots jumping into the audience as the song concludes, sending security into a frenzy. The humorous ‘Love Again’ sees the crowd chanting ‘Dick in her mouth all day’ while Mike and El-P are on the verge of bursting into laughter.
Having finished the final song ‘A Christmas F**king Miracle’, the duo return to the stage for a precise closing encore of ‘Angel Duster’. After such a hectic display of enthusiasm it’s a calming finish, although the crowd still leaves in a wave of excitement as Killer Mike and El-P descend from the stage to meet their fans. The last effect of the evident as chants of ‘R-T-J’ run through Kentish Town tube station; by the sounds of it, Run the Jewel’s domination of the UK is complete.
Run the Jewels are playing numerous festivals this summer, including Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds.
Run the Jewels played:
Run the Jewels
Oh My Darling Don’t Cry
Blockbuster Night Part One
Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k)
Pew Pew Pew
Lie Cheat Steal
Early (with Boots)
All My Life (with Boots)
All Due Respect
A Christmas F**king Miracle
Photo by Joe Fairweather
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